As they get things ready for the Circles to gather, Jackie set out a new crystal skull, which Jordan is immediately attracted to. Brian’s skull, Lester, is highly attracted too. A bolt of energy enters her skull, from Brian’s, giving them both quite a jolt.
They practiced on grapes, since these were small and plentiful. They also had a skin not dissimilar to human flesh in density and thickness. Their juicy interior was a good substitute for muscle. It took a few tries, but soon they grew more confident. With only a few mistakes, they all felt fairly confident that they could do the branding on everyone, including Elise and other small children. Overall, the women had a more delicate touch, but Derrick, Caleb and Neil had more control than anyone else. Brian was accurate, but his spell was a little too penetrating. He went completely through a few grapes and decided that he would bow out rather than risk it.
“Nothing to be ashamed of,” Neil said quietly as they picked up. “So, you aren’t perfect at everything.” He shrugged.
Brian laughed. “I guess I always expect to be, for some reason.”
“Boy, if you can put that same zowie into an offensive spell, remind me not to piss you off.”
Ducking his head, Brian blushed. “I’ve been practicing on rocks and dirt clods. Never anything living. I can vaporize a rock the size of that grape, or seriously damage one the size of your head.”
Neil shuddered, clapping Brian on the shoulder. “Holy hell, son. I’m glad you’re on my side.”
Brian chuckled. “Ditto.”
After an early lunch at Marissa’s home, they all made their way to Neil and Cynthia’s house. Miles met them there with Elise and the wooden box—one under each arm.
“I don’t know why my daughter likes hanging like a bag of potatoes,” Maribelle fussed, taking her baby from her husband.
“Can’t imagine,” Miles said, winking at Heath. Both men carried her that way.
When she wasn’t looking, they tapped knuckles.
They gathered around the fire pit in the back yard, with Jordan, Brian and their parents around the altar. Since Jackie wasn’t in a position to officiate, Claude Beauchamps took the place as spiritual guide.
“This is something we’ve never done in our group before,” he said, smiling. “And I’m honored to be the one to conduct this ceremony, because I think it’s pretty cool. I think we need to restart this tradition. Dear friends, we are gathered here, not for a wedding, but for a spiritual melding. The old texts call it Binding, but that’s a misnomer. What Brian and Jordan share today isn’t restraint, but combining of energy that will make them stronger and show their love to anyone who knows how to look. In fact, if any other couples here tonight want to do this, I will happily officiate over all of the Bindings. We don’t have rings for everyone, but there’s plenty of pine straw, the Binding rings can be made by braiding them together.”
The other couples exchanged a look and all of the men picked up a piece of pine straw.
“I knew there was a reason for that,” Cynthia whispered, pulling the straw ring from her pocket with a smile.
“Jordan and Brian, you’ve been called by The Powers That Be, to be husband and wife, mated for life. Do you accept this?”
“We do,” they chorused.
“Take hands.” He raised the rings, saying a quick prayer over them. “Brian, take Jordan’s ring and place it on her finger.”
He did so.
“Repeat these words. With this ring of promise, I declare that you are my one and only love. We will walk together, love each other and vanquish foes which come against us.”
Brian repeated them, as did Jordan.
Claude said further blessings over the necklace. He had Brian take it and put it over Jordan’s head.
“This necklace will keep you safe,” Brian told her. “It will protect you, even if I’m not around, and will work with mine to keep all of our Circle from harm. Do you accept this gift?”
“I do.” She giggled a little, blushing.
“Take hands and declare your intentions before the group,” Claude instructed.
“We promise to work together to strengthen our Circle, as well as the Outer and Center Circles. We declare our love for one another and our intention to marry. Let our rings show our devotion to one another, and to you all.”
Everyone clapped and cheered.
“You can kiss her now,” Claude murmured.
Brian blushed. Although he’d kissed Jordan in front of the others before, never with so much attention.
“You have to, Brian. It’s in the instructions,” Jackie murmured.
“Well, we have to, Babe,” he said, pulling Jordan close. He lowered his head, gazing into her eyes, until she closed them and their lips met.
© 2018 Dellani Oakes